Nearly everyone I know has fond memories of the first makeup products that they fell in love with — usually a CoverGirl foundation, an original Lip Smackers balm, Maybelline Great Lash mascara, or possibly even a $2 lip gloss from the beauty supply store. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. Sure, I had a deep fascination with beauty for as long as I can remember, but I never actually used makeup until I was a teen because drugstore makeup for my dark skin never worked.
In the dark era before Fenty came about (if you all can remember), the beauty world often offer 40 inclusive options for foundations. So, as per some misguided advice from a makeup artist at a local beauty counter, I'd always go with whatever shade was available. (As hard as she tried, didn't know how to do makeup on her Black clients. The foundation she used made my face look beet red, the gold shadow was ashy on my lids, and the plum lipstick was far too light.) I was none the wiser, though. After that, I'd continue to opt for the darkest shades in the makeup aisle, not paying attention to my undertones or finish.
By the time college hit, I had a better since of what worked for me thanks to magazines and YouTube. And I also had the benefit of having summer internships at publications and sites that held beauty closet sales. Because I believed no drugstore product could work for me, I turned to prestige products and never looked back.
But we're not in 2009 anymore, and the beauty industry has made plenty of strides in the years since with inclusive and affordable options that service all beauty lovers. Sure, I'll always love my Fenty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter and my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. But it's nice to know that I'll be taken care of at any store I choose to spend my coins.
Ahead, see some of my favorite Black girl-friendly drugstore products that I still have in my bag today.
I didn't discover highlighter until I was in my twenties, but my love for anything sparkly is a lifelong one. Back in the day, I would apply this bronzer to the apples of my cheeks to add a bit of dimension to my face. These days, I'll use it to bring out my contour even more — or I'll tap a tiny bit on my lids for some shimmer.
Sir John, Beyoncé's makeup artist, actually introduced me to this shadow — which doesn't even have to be used as a shadow. He applied it with a fan brush and used it as a highlighter, which was genius; many holographic highlighters aren't pigmented enough, and I end up looking chalky. Moon Kissed pops SO much, especially on my lids. And the pigment is loose enough to double as a fun lipstick topper, too.